Spotify took it on the chin for privacy changes it didn't explain ahead of time
Here's what Spotify wants to get at on your smartphone:
- Information stored on your mobile device. That can include contacts, photos, and media files.
- Location and sensor information such as GPS, Bluetooth, motion tracking.
The reality is that Spotify doesn't want to go Big Brother on its users, but instead wants access to phone features and data that enhance or enable features in its streaming music service.
Mr. Ek tried to clarify Spotify's intentions in his public apology stating,
Mr. Ek added that some data is shared with partners who "help us with marketing and advertising efforts." That data, he said, is anonymous and that personal information is not shared.
So Spotify does get points for being Johnny-on-the-spot with its response to subscriber concerns, but loses those points for offering up a clear explanation of the changes and the company's intentions up front. And here's where the problem lies: Customers are gun shy when it comes to privacy policies, and changes make them very suspicious. Proactively telling users about changes goes a long way towards maintaining trust and avoiding group freakout events—like the one Spotify is in the middle of now.
Spotify isn't the first company to have to backtrack into damage control mode after changing privacy policies, and considering they didn't learn, won't be the last. It doesn't matter how well intentioned your policies are. When legal-speak comes into play, that doesn't come across, and sharing a regular human-speak explanation isn't just necessary; it's critical.
Customers are human and they react to changes emotionally. Spotify just learned that the hard way.
[Some image elements courtesy Shutterstock]